I Remember Sleep
Once upon a time, I went to bed around 11pm, slept for a solid eight hours and awoke refreshed and ready to start my day. I’m now realizing that I should have basked in the glory that was uninterrupted sleep because it’s something I’m pretty sure I’ll never experience again.
Sleep has become a precious commodity in our house. It’s not that our son is particularly difficult when it comes to “sleeping through the night,” he’s just too little for that to even be an option. He’s also at the magical age when cluster feeding and colic are all the rage. Like clockwork, by the time 9pm rolls around, the evening shifts from calm and serene to downright savage.
Try as we might, nothing will soothe our once angelic baby – who is now seemingly possessed. After I’ve gone about six rounds of breastfeeding, my husband will load Flynn into the baby carrier and pace the house while asking for pacifiers, colic drops, gripe water and maybe a beer (for him not the baby). We have yet to find the secret cure for this special breed of baby rage. By the time Flynn has thoroughly tired himself out and is ready to go down to bed, we’re spent. It’s amazing how well a 12-pound baby can defeat two college-educated adults.
Ideally, it would be great if we could crash and sleep until morning, but we all know this isn’t the case with infants. Instead, we’ve fallen into a tag team routine where my husband handles diaper changes while I nurse Flynn into a milk-induced stupor every three to four hours (on a “good” night).
Apparently, this is a healthy sleeping schedule for a seven-week-old. I sometimes hear horror stories about babies who wake every one to two hours or those that are completely nocturnal. To some degree, we have it easy. But this can be tough to keep in mind when you’ve slept walked your way through a diaper change or worry you may collapse atop your nursing son at 4am.
I’m pleased to report that, for the most part, the lack of sleep has brought an increased level of partnership to my marriage. My husband and I are kind of like war buddies. Each night is a matter of survival. We have wins (like the time Flynn slept a total of five precious hours) and losses (like the poopy diaper ambush). You never know what the night will bring, but we try to offer up words of support and praise, which go a long way when you’re in the trenches.
Lack of sleep is nothing new. I realize this. It’s a rite of passage for all new parents. But the actual mental and physical toll it takes after weeks of restless nights is intense and yet strangely bonding.
One day, when Flynn is grown, I might even miss these wee hours of the night… maybe.
Jillian Gordon is the Managing Editor of Mamapedia.com. A Los Angeles-based lifestyle writer and editor, her work has appeared in Beauty Launchpad, Nailpro Magazine, Saturday Night Magazine and Westside Today. She is also the former Content Manager of Mom.me. Jillian welcomed her son Flynn in November, 2016.